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Release: Immediate

UI engineering students win regional bridge-building contest

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa College of Engineering student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) finished first at the seven-team Steel Bridge Competition at the ASCE Upper Midwest Regional Conference held Feb. 21 at the University of Wisconsin at Platteville. By winning the regional bridge-building contest, the UI chapter qualified for the national competition to be held in Colorado this spring.

The UI ASCE bridge building team includes: Brad Ketels, Waterloo; Brandon Miller, Brooklyn; Tom Nagle, Waterloo; Jason Smith, Clinton; and Steve Suarez, Carol Stream, Ill. Civil and environmental engineering faculty Colby Swan and Forrest Holly, as well as Steve Lasczak of the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research (IIHR), assisted the students with their design and attended the competition.

According to Holly, the Hawkeye bridge design, an underslung truss of triangular section, was "definitely the classiest and most innovative." In addition, the UI team made it a clean sweep by finishing first in all six judging categories, including stiffness, aesthetics, economy, efficiency, lightness, and speed of construction. The competition called for teams to design and construct 21-foot-long steel bridges as light as possible (the UI entry weighed about 94 pounds) and yet able to support a load of 2,500 pounds with minimal deflection.

In addition to the UI, other competitors were: North Dakota State University, second place; South Dakota State University, third place; and the University of Minnesota; the University of North Dakota; the University of Wisconsin at Platteville; and Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.

The UI team was supported by the College of Engineering, IIHR, UI Student Government, the College of Engineering Student Council, the Engineering Dean's Office, and civil and environmental engineering faculty.